5G can help deliver better insights into patient health

Remote patient monitoring reveals a richer picture of patient wellness

by Maria Lensing, VP, Healthare Solutions, AT&T Business

It’s difficult to predict how 5G will ultimately transform all of the ways people access services and products. The implications are far-reaching and could potentially influence many areas of life. I’m seeing small improvements to networks that are already impacting how people interact with healthcare providers, for instance. I believe the arrival of 5G promises to improve the accessibility and effectiveness of emerging healthcare technologies.

Recent innovations in telemedicine have given patients more convenient ways of obtaining medical treatment. Remote consultations conducted via live video and telephone offer affordable methods of seeking medical advice without the need to travel to hospitals or doctors’ offices. Network-enabled Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) devices such as remote patient monitoring tools are now used to augment telemedicine technology and provide practitioners better insights into patient health.

The availability of 5G will likely see remote monitoring applications broaden to include other types of patient health scenarios. I’ve heard healthcare experts predict widespread adoption of these alternative modes of patient-physician interaction.

One particularly interesting application related to remote patient monitoring is that 5G may possibly help providers deploy remote mobile clinics that deliver the same experience and services as traditional facilities in a fraction of the time it typically takes to stand up IT infrastructure. One health system CIO I recently spoke to, was especially intrigued by the potential efficiencies afforded by this use case. It really caught his attention.

Today, remote monitoring is largely limited by the capacity of networks to handle large amounts of data, but that will likely change with the arrival of 5G. It will enable more reliable connections and greater capacity to facilitate the data transfers needed for practitioners to make quick, remote healthcare decisions for patients. This will eventually assist in delivering unobtrusive monitoring solutions for patients residing in assisted living environments, or for other people with chronic conditions that could benefit from round-the-clock medical oversight.

The data I’ve come across supports that ambitious projection. Transparency Market Research reports that “The global telehealth market was valued at $6 billion in 2016 and is projected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13 percent from 2017 to 2025.” The report goes on to cite factors contributing to the growth, including “An increase in the geriatric population, a rise in the prevalence of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and others, and a surge in demand for self-care devices and solutions.”

These ailments and demographics are ideal candidates for IoMT-enhanced telemedicine solutions and will propel remote monitoring adoption over the coming decades. 5G will play a vital role in this growth by supplying the bandwidth and reduced latency required to collect clinically-relevant patient data.

These are only a few of the ways 5G is expected to potentially revolutionize healthcare. To learn more and discover how your organization can prepare for the changes, read our new 5G and Healthcare eBook.